IT WAS a torrid session for retailers on London’s top flight index as official figures revealed a shock fall in sales last month after a snow-hit start to the year.
B&Q parent Kingfisher and Marks & Spencer were among the day’s fallers following data showing an unexpected 0.6% drop in sales volumes between December and January, confounding expectations for a bounce back.
The wider FTSE 100 Index trod water - closing 0.9 of a point higher at 6328.3 - as investors waited for news from the G20 meeting of financial ministers in Moscow.
Sterling regained some of this week’s lost ground after a difficult week in the wake of stubbornly high inflation and a gloomy inflation report from the Bank of England, with the pound up against the US dollar and the euro at 1.55 and 1.16 respectively.
The G20 forum got under way today amid fears of a brewing currency war as tensions mount over measures taken by Japan’s new government to revive the economy, which have been driving down the yen and making it more competitive.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin called on financial chiefs of the world’s leading industrial and developing nations to consider the political and social implications of their crucial policy decisions, ahead of their key meeting this weekend.
Investors also sat on the sidelines on Wall Street with the Dow Jones Industrial Average flat in early trading and unmoved by better-than-expected industrial production figures.
Shares in the group fell 6% or 17.8p to 282.8p.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were ITV up 3.6p to 117p, WPP ahead 28p to 1047p, Aggreko 39p higher at 1680p and Intercontinental Hotels Group up 40p to 1984p.
The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Fresnillo down 105p to 1550p, Randgold Resources off 220p to 5580p, Polymetal International 24.5p lower at 997.5p and Tate & Lyle down 17.5p to 784p.